Romelu Lukaku has seemingly offered an insight into his frustrations at Chelsea having failed to find the net in his last four starts for the Blues.
The Belgian talisman, who returned to Stamford Bridge in the summer from Inter Milan for £97.5 million, hit the ground running and scored four goals in his opening four games.
Chelsea were then hit with a succession of tough fixtures against the likes of Tottenham, Manchester City and Juventus which saw Lukaku start across each of them and fail to get on the scoresheet.
In each of those four ties, the 28-year-old was often operating with his back to goal, singing from Tuchel’s hymn sheet after the German publicly revealed that a target man was in his blueprints, unbeknown of Lukaku’s hate for the restrictive role.
Speaking in the summer, just days before Lukaku’s arrival, Tuchel said: “He is a fantastic player but a player from Inter and with all due respect I will not talk about him.
“I think with the exit from Olivier Giroud from the type of players we could use, a player used to playing with their backs to goal, whose strength is to keep possession from long balls.”
But, Lukaku has since agreed with Antonio Conte’s criticism over Tuchel claiming that he ‘hates’ just holding up the ball, potentially shedding light on a growing rift in visions at Stamford Bridge.
In an interview with UEFA, Lukaku went against Tuchel’s prescribed diagnosis of him, fuelling Conte’s argument that the Blues boss is yet to unlock the Belgian’s true potential.
Lukaku said, hinting at his frustrations: “I’m quite big, everybody thinks I’m a sort of target man: just holding up the ball and being a goal poacher. But I’ve never played that way and I hate it.
“My biggest strength is that I’m dangerous when I’m facing towards the goal. That’s when I rarely make wrong choices.”
Ahead of the Champions League tie with Juventus, Conte foreshadowed the Belgian’s woes that night by claiming that Tuchel hasn’t yet worked out how to use Lukaku best.
The Blues struggled to support Lukaku until Ross Barkley unlocked the Old Lady’s defence for the first time in the 83rd minute with a deftly threaded pass.
Speaking on Italian television Conte, who had yielded 47 goals in 72 Serie A games from Lukaku, slammed Tuchel for not being able to crack the code.
“I don’t think Chelsea have quite figured out how to use Lukaku yet. Last season, they didn’t have a proper CF, so they rotated,” Conte said.
Tuchel responded a few days later, claiming he wasn’t offended by the Italian’s comments but insisted that Lukaku’s isolation was a result of Juventus’ strong defending as opposed to Chelsea’s inability to support him.
“I don’t feel offended, don’t get me wrong,” the Blues boss said. “I saw him talking about us and they were talking how good the link-up play is from Romelu and how strong he is and how much he’s scored, so they were praising him.
“After the Juventus game, they have got the right to say he was too isolated. Juventus made him isolated. They did it well and they did it in their style, and we have to accept it, but it’s not a general problem.”
As the ‘Lukaku role’ fiasco simmered down Chelsea proceeded to bounce back in fantastic fashion with a 3-1 win over Southampton which saw the striker far more involved, as the Belgian looks to rekindle his goal-scoring tendencies over the international break.
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Source by Football London